Study of the miscibility of cholesteryl oleate in a matrix of ceramide, cholesterol and fatty acid

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Cholesteryl esters (CE) are not generally abundant but are ubiquitous in living organisms and have markedly different properties from cholesterol because of their acyl chain. The miscibility/immiscibility of CE with biological lipid structures is a key property for their functions. In this work we study the solubility of cholesteryl oleate (ChO) in a model of the stratum corneum lipid matrix composed of ceramide C16, cholesterol and palmitic acid in excess water. Experiments were done in conditions of fully ionized (pH = 9.0) and fully neutralized fatty acid (pH = 4.0), and differential scanning calorimetry of the ternary mixtures with added ChO at pH = 9.0 clearly displayed a main transition with the same maximum temperature, peak shape, and enthalpy, suggesting that ChO was excluded from the remaining lipids. This technique is not conclusive at pH = 4.0 because the transitions of the lipid matrix and ChO overlap. The insolubility of ChO at both pH values is supported by X-ray diffraction. Adding the ceramide:cholesterol:fatty acid lipid mixture to ChO did not change the X-ray pattern of the mixture nor that of the ChO. To supplement the above physical techniques, we applied (13)C MAS NMR spectroscopy with C-13 carbonyl-labeled ChO. A single (13)C carbonyl peak from the ChO at 171.5 ppm was observed, indicating exposure to only one environment. The chemical shift was identical to pure ChO below and above the temperature of isotropic liquid formation. Taken together, our results lead to the conclusion that the solubility of ChO is negligible in the ceramide:cholesterol:fatty acid lipid mixture.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)664-671
JournalChemistry And Physics Of Lipids
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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